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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: Avoir la baraka

This expression stems from Arabic but is widely used in every day French today - especially at betting shops.

French Expression of the Day: Avoir la baraka
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know avoir la baraka? 

Because we all need a bit of baraka in our lives. 

What does it mean? 

Avoir la baraka, pronounced “ah-vwar lah bah-rack-ah”, means “to be lucky”. 

Baraka is actually an Arabic word meaning “blessing” or “the spirit of God”. 

The expression entered the French lexicon after the colonisation of large swathes of North Africa by France, beginning in the 1830s. 

It was initially adopted by French soldiers to mean “to be lucky” and its usage spread during the WW1 when many French troops who had been serving in North Africa returned to fight on the western front. 

Today it is still widely used in this sense. Betting companies often use slogans like: Aurez-vous la baraka? – Will you be lucky

Use it like this

T’as gagné car t’avais la baraka –  You won because you were lucky

On a eu un peu de la baraka – We were a little bit lucky

Nous avions la baraka, non? – We were lucky, no? 

Je vais aller au PMU, j’espère avoir de la baraka – I am going to the betting shop – I hope to be lucky

Synonyms 

There are lots of similar expressions to express being lucky. 

avoir de la chance / avoir la chance – to be lucky, is the more formal use of the phrase

There are plenty of more casual, slangy, alternatives though;

avoir du bol

avoir du pot 

avoir de la veine 

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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: La clim’

You'll definitely want to know about this during the summer.

French Expression of the Day: La clim'

Why do I need to know la clim’?

Because the lack of green spaces in cities might find you looking desperately for fresh air.

What does it mean?

La clim’, pronounced la-cleem, means air conditioning, it is a shortened version of la climatisation.

Climatisation comes from the word climatiseur, which itself comes from Klima in Greek and means the inclination of planet Earth from the equator to the poles. This inclination of the planet on its axis is responsible for the seasons and if you find yourself in a French city in August your inclination will definitely be towards climatisation.

Air-conditioning in private homes is not common France, some hotels have it but not all and in the summer months restaurants will often advertise air-con if they have it, as a way of luring in hot-and-bothered tourists.

If you find yourself desperate for cool air, head to a supermarket – almost all French supermarkets are air-conditioned in the summer. Or for a more fun option just head to the nearest city fountain or water feature and join the locals who are splashing around to cool off.

Use it like this

Il fait très chaud, avez-vous la clim’ dans votre hotel ? – It’s really hot, do you have air-con in the hotel?

Je n’aime pas mettre la clim’ en route car cela est mauvais pour la santé et l’environnement – I don’t like turning on the AC, it’s bad for my health and for the environment

Il fait froid, peut-on s’il vous plait éteindre la clim’ ? – It’s cold, could  we turn off the air-con?

La clim’ fait beaucoup de bruit, pouvons-nous la mettre en sourdine ? – This AC is really noisy, could we turn it down?

Synonyms

Un climatiseur – the formal name for an air-conditioner (in French the air conditioning is feminine by the air conditioner is masculine)

Un ventilateur – a ventilator

Un Brumisateur – a ‘fogger’ – these machines which pump out cool water vapour are often seen on the streets and in parks during the summer

Un Rafraichisseur d’air – an air freshener

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